It's cycled through a couple different names and locations since its inception in 1976 but Docks Clam Bar & Pasta House has always been owned by the same family. Kim and Trisha, daughters of the original owners, run the restaurant today. During their tenure as managers, they’ve revamped the menu to include homemade desserts and blackboard specials, and oversee chefs who stock the raw bar with half shells full of clams and oysters, heap linguine with shrimp, and stuff ravioli with lobster. Mixologists, meanwhile, rattle cocktail shakers full of spirits and tropical juices, to serve up fresh cocktails and drown out distracting siren calls.
Blue Water Seafood Company’s expansive menu satisfies the deepest desires of seafaring appetites. Appetizers such as oysters on the half shell ($16/dozen) launch the stomach on a seafaring journey, continued by jumbo lump crab cakes ($17 lunch; $23 dinner) and fried clam strips ($15 lunch; $18 dinner). Blue Water's live Maine lobster ($26/lb., dinner only) is steamed and served with roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables upon order, bringing forth celestial flavors from the abyssopelagic depths. The maritime menu is bordered by an assortment of terra firma tasties including lemon chicken with artichoke hearts and crispy garlic ($14 lunch; $18 dinner) and New Zealand lamb chops ($35, dinner only).
When it comes to Italian food, the culinary team at Cafe 34 Bistro draws equally from tradition and its own creativity. From seasoning housemade gnocchi with ground beef to tossing fettuccine with bacon-wrapped scallions and creamy wild-mushroom sauce, the cooks prove they have classic Italian flavors mastered. On the flip side, they lend fried calamari an extra zest by tossing the rings in mandarin-orange sauce. Cafe 34's culinary wizards likewise expand the flavorful potential of the burger by crowning beef patties with Cajun seasoning and mango-crabmeat salsa.
An extensive selection of wine by the glass and bottle, as well as cocktails, such as chocolate martinis, complements Cafe 34's edibles. Meals, in turn, complement the cafe's entertainment lineup, which bounces between flat-screen TVs showing the night's biggest games and live music performed three nights a week.
Jutting out over the salty waters of Raritan Bay, Jakeabob's Bay furnishes diners with picturesque views to accompany a menu of classic American and maritime fare. Tantalize taste buds with an appetizer of fried calamari with marinara sauce ($12) and bypass cumbersome cutlery with dishes such as the fried-tilapia fish taco served in a soft tortilla shell with pineapple chili ($12) or the fried-sea-scallop-and-wasabi-mayo sandwich ($11). Daily specials add variety to the standard menu with such variables as the lobster dinner ($17)—a steamy crustacean served whole, complete with its lobster bowtie. As they take in their nautical cuisine, diners catch between-bite views of the New York skyline and invigorating breaths of Atlantic wind.